Category: Form and Narrative

Who to Blame?

By: Sandra Tzoc

air pollution

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein” demonstrates an anomaly in the climate through the very cold winters. This issue is accompanied by the banished creature which can represent the theme of pollution in the modern age. The California fires are analogous to Shelley’s freezing winters and both can be seen as consequences to the actions of humans. Climate change is influenced by different factors and one of them includes: pollution. The exertion of greenhouse gases leads to the entrapment of infrared radiation which can in turn cause the increase of gas temperature, consequently, augmenting the temperature of earth’s atmosphere. These California fires could be put out faster if the land wasn’t so dry and there was more rain. Although humans are responsible for the radical climate changes because we take part in extensive pollution, there seems to be a disconnect in culpability. Instead of blaming ourselves, we blame pollution, and make it seem as if pollution is created on its own. This resonates with the relationship between Victor and the creature, because although Victor was his creator he acted as if the creature was the only one to blame for the tragedies that occurred.


Frankenstein in 2018


Image result for fires in california

Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”, was written and takes place during age where the environment was extremely cold. During this time the it was not common for there to be such cold winters. Through out the novel we can see how much nature is mentioned and how both Victor and the creature find inner peace with it. Through her novel she is advocating for a change in human activity as Victor himself is seen trying to manipulate nature as a whole by giving life, another way we are shown humans trying to be superior to nature is how they want to make a passage through the arctic. In the present day we are now able to see how much affect humanity has had in the environment through climate change. We are supposed to be entering winter time yet there is fires happing in California. Every year the earth is reaching a new record in heat, there is the shrinking of ice sheets and Sea level rising.

-Levit Martinez

A Destructive Reality

By Cathryn Flores

Analyzing the current California wildfires through an ecocritical view would show us that the effects of climate change were bound to affect humans’ current life style. By having an ignorant view on the way human actions contribute to climate change, humans are only harming themselves in avoiding to help this issue. This concept can be related to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein, in which Victor Frankenstein’s actions alter the regular functioning of science. Understanding the detrimental effects of Victor’s creation using artificial techniques to create a human, we can learn that emitting excessive amounts of carbon emissions is a problem that needs to be addressed. As a result, if individuals today are able to see themselves as Frankenstein, then they’d have the knowledge and ability to alter their actions and stop contributing to the carbon emissions.


The wildfires that are spread across California can mostly be attributed to the lack of funding for agencies to prevent them in the first place due to the President, Donald J. Trump. Due to his negligent efforts to try and manipulate (second-hand) the climate as a point of some ill-gotten revenge fantasy, we the people in this gracious point are suffering for it. In essence, this is a sort of perverse reverse reflection to the events that occurred in the 1820s and their efforts to find an enemy in the inanimate icecaps of the North; while the cause of the concern back then was how a natural part of nature was culprit against humanity, the situation Californians face now is due to humanity being the culprit for a natural part of nature. In the near future it seems as if there will be articles saying that it is the fault of organizations and agencies in California that we are in such dire conditions, but that is a scapegoat to the fact that there is very much political avarice behind those messages to take the heat off the one who is truly to blame for the lack of funding for the services to try and prevent it in the first place: the President.

Alejandro Joseph Serrano

(I did not mean to totally make this a political attack piece, but it is important to note that the President did retract funding for California agencies, as well as threatening to withhold funds from the UC system in the past. Ultimately, this is due to his negligence.)

Samantha Shapiro

While reading through Frankenstein with a focus on the ecocritical problems alluded to in the novel, we can see reference to how our modern population continues to treat nature to this day. As Walton notes in his letters to his sister, “the winter has been dreadfully severe,” heavily inspired by the “Years without Summer” Shelley had written the novel in (Frankenstein, 31). Likewise, we have all been a part of a changing climate with severe differences – California’s latest fires show a severe start for the winter. As noted by the Redding Record Searchlight, one of the major fires has devastatingly impacted Butte County, California to a large extent: “since the blaze started last Thursday,” the Camp Fire has become California’s “deadliest and most destructive in modern history.” Even years beforehand, we’ve noted a large increase in dangerous fires, noting the rise of mega-fires and the dangers we see with them. In 2012, NPR published a series focusing on the fires in the Southwest United States, and in it, William Armstrong, a Santa Fe National Forest service fire manager, noted that there was a “slow pace of change” in how we respond to the these growing threats of the fires around California. Armstrong notes, “…now we’re reaping that fiery maelstrom. We have fires now we can’t stop. And they’re going to continue to burn until the landscape is so scarred, and so broken up, there isn’t going to be a whole lot left to burn.” While the fires continue to be a “new normal,” with mega-fires a devastating change we have yet to completely deal with, we continue overlooking our climate change with the same lack of care as Walton, like “the floating sheets of ice that continually pass us, indicating the dangers of the region towards which we are advancing, [don’t] appear to dismay them” (32-33).

Sabrina Vazquez

Since lecture on Wednesday and considering the devastating fire that has taken so many lives in northern California, my thoughts have not been far from the effects of global warming. Siobhan Carroll’s statement “In works such as Frankenstein we can nevertheless see an uncanny reflection of our own struggles to discern the nature of, and decide on the proper response to, alterations in the global climate.” (524). There is virtually no time between one natural disaster to the next happening in the world, that are all the consequence of global warming, it is undeniable, but yet it is denied. Time and time again, from people who personify the saying ‘ignorance is bliss’, climate change is called a ‘hoax, or a ‘secret to agenda to push’. Carroll in relation to the novel declares that we must accept our fault in the situation or else it will be too late, much like Frankenstein and his creation. In order to repair even a fraction of the damage caused to Earth ignorance can no longer be tolerated. The fire that has demolished Paradise is a call to deniers to pull their heads from the sand, Global warming is undeniable and it’s devastating us all.

We’re Doomed

Esther Quintanilla

The novel Frankenstein by Mary Shelley has many references toward climate change, particularly that of what was happening in her era. However, many of the ideas that were shown in the novel can be seen in today’s time, especially with the rampant wildfires that are happening in Northern and Southern California. Taking an ecocritical view of the novel, we can see that the change in the climate in the novel was man’s to blame — and it is no different in our time. Manmade structures and progression are to blame for the change of our climate, there is only one possible solution to alleviate the climate because there is no way we could heal it completely. Limiting mass production, fossil fuel usage, and overpopulation in small areas will help the climate moderate itself. However, this is simply not possible as thousands upon thousands of people move LA every year and big oil companies refuse to change their methods. Climate change is our fault, and it is up to us to save our planet from destruction.

By interpreting the novel Frankenstein through an ecocritical lens we can see how the climate change issues we are experiencing are very similar to the ones of Mary Shelley’s time. Mary Shelley was writing her novel during the time period known as the Year without summer which was the consequence of climate change. During that summer it was extremely rainy and cold. Similarly, we are experiencing unusual weather as a result of climate change. In previous years the city of Merced has been pretty consistent in its weather patterns but recently its experience longer periods of heat and drought. In both cases, climate change was man-made due to the lack of respect for nature. Even now as we are given a chance to right our actions, people still deny climate change being an issue and vote against efforts made to address the issue.

WE Are to Blame

By: Maya Carranza

When interpreting Frankenstein through an ecocritical lens, we can say that humans are at fault when it comes to nature and trying to control it. In the novel, the outcome of a man trying to create life resulted in a monster who is unpredictable and dangerous. Likewise, climate change,  which is caused by us humans polluting and tinting the air, is also unpredictable as it is changing the Earth’s climate patterns. This fall season should have been one filled with rain but due to climate changing (again, due to humans because WE are responsible and YOU should feel guilty for polluting the air), California is now facing many dangerous fires. Just like how the creature took William and Elizabeth’s lives, these fires are also taking lives and homes. To add, these fires are also ruining the air quality in which we live in. Unfortunately, people choose to ignore climate change and be ignorant about this big issue when it’s reality and it’s there and will continue to keep affecting us.

When looking at Frankenstein through an ecocritical lens, there are issues subtly presented regarding the climate of the time and place in which the novel is set. The climate during this time was so severely cold that those years were referred to as the “Year(s) without a Summer.” Undisturbed by these climate issues however, the characters in the novel continue to manipulate nature, mainly through the creation of the creature. The issues that result from this is only acknowledged after great damage and destruction is already done. In this way, the novel foreshadows our current climate issues in America and more specifically, now, in California, warning us that climate is and always will be an issue that should be addressed before any severe damage is done. Unfortunately, today California is battling major wildfires that can very much be connected to climate change issues, and while some of these issues may be unpreventable, it is important that we educate ourselves and do what we can to help in any way we can and prevent further disaster.

-Serena Ya